By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
We didn’t get much of a spring in Texas, so as May comes to a close, we are already embracing temperatures in the 80s and 90s, hosing down the grills, and cleaning up our swimming pools. What better time for a California friend – well, MORE than just a great friend – to come to visit than Memorial Day weekend?
As most of you know, our dear friend here at The Next Family – Madge – has recently embarked on a whirlwind adventure across Canada and parts of the United States. We were honored to be the last leg of her journey, which started in Northern California and progressed into Toronto, Cape Cod, Boston, New York, Minneapolis, and finally here, Dallas. As the days passed leading up to Madge’s arrival last week, I grew more and more excited and filled with anticipation. I told my wife that I felt like my mom was coming to see me for the first time. Over the past year or so, I have been so blessed to have gotten to know her and become close with her. We have emailed and written, texted and called, and talked about oh so much. And now she was coming here, to see me, my family! So much to do to get ready for her arrival – I couldn’t have her coming into my messy house for the first time! I mean, once she has been here for her first visit, then she is more than welcome to see how we REALLY live, clutter and all…hahaha.
This past Sunday morning, we all got up and referenced the fairly long chore list that Erikka and I had developed. Noah did great doing his part and helping to get things done. She was due to arrive at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport just before 4 PM, and Noah went with me to pick her up. By the time she actually arrived in the baggage claim area, I think he was as excited as I was to meet her! I saw her before she saw me, so I ran up yelling, “You’re here!!!” with a big hug. How awesome it was to finally get to wrap her in a hug and introduce her to my Noah, who promptly hugged her as well.
Soon we had her suitcase (which felt like it was packed with pounds and pounds of rocks) and were off. I had to make a stop at Target for an extension cord, where she and Noah took off for the toy section and she let him pick out a couple of action figures. Already acting like a Mimi, or Grammy, or Auntie….whichever. From there we ran over to her hotel, where we got her checked in and suitcase put away, and then off again to our house. It was so sweet to watch as she met Erikka and finally, Harrison. The baby was a little skeptical of her at first, but finally warmed up to her and was soon smiling and squealing.
We soon loaded up and went out for a fabulous dinner, showing Madge some of our area and making plans for the next day – Memorial Day. Soon I was dropping off Madge AND Noah at her hotel; she discovered she had two queen beds, and after a joking comment from me, said that she would love to have him come hang out with her at the hotel for the night. He was thrilled, and was already saying that he thought she was “awesome.”
Monday morning, I woke up to scones and coffee, made by my sweet wife after she had fed the baby. I ate and showered, and then was soon dressed and ready to go pick up Madge and the boy. Erikka stayed home with Harrison so that she could get some work done, while I was to spend a good part of the day being tour guide for our California visitor who had never been to Dallas.
I picked the duo up and we headed to downtown Dallas, where we visited some historical sites. We walked around Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll, where JFK had been assassinated. We also walked to a JFK Memorial, just past the Old Red Courthouse, which I had no idea even existed! We then walked past a small, cabin-looking building, which turned out to be a historic post office from the 1800s! Around 11 AM, we decided to go to the Dallas Holocaust Memorial Center for Tolerance, where we toured both the special exhibit on children from the Holocaust, as well as the permanent exhibit. When we left there, we walked about two blocks and got in line for The Sixth Floor Museum – a tour of the school book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald worked and perched from a window in order to shoot at JFK’s motorcade so many years ago. It was amazing. I have lived here, in North Dallas, my entire life and had NEVER been there. Even Noah was engaged and paid attention to everything, taking in the recount of the events that happened leading up to and following the death of John F. Kennedy. All of the photos, newspapers, audio, and video were put together in such a way that it felt like I was back in 1963, living it, hearing it happen – it made me cry. I felt really stupid for standing there crying as I listened to the audio of phone calls and A.P. wire calls, considering that I wasn’t even born yet! But I got a taste of what it was like for our country to have such a tragedy happen to the president, and it reminded me of where I was and how I felt the day that tragedy hit America on September 11, 2001. It was a great trip through a museum, and I am so glad that we decided to go there. We were soon on our way back to the North, and we stopped to introduce Madge to Fuzzy’s Tacos (which she seemed to enjoy). A trip to Dimples Cupcakes was in order, as well as the grocery store for the makings for our Memorial Day dinner cookout.
By about 6 PM, our good friend Holly (the friend that introduced Erikka and me) and her family had arrived and we all started changing to move the party out to the pool. We put Harrison into the pool for the first time, and she wasn’t really a fan at first.
Most of us swam for a bit, and then we got out to start getting dinner on the grill. I was thrilled to have Madge there to meet our friends, as they are very much like our family. It was a great, relaxing evening, just talking and laughing and eating and drinking.
This morning, Noah was off to school, after having said his goodbyes to Madge last night (he woke up saying that he missed her already). Erikka was off to work, so after I fed Harrison, we ran over to the hotel to pick up Madge and come back to the house to relax and hang out. We had a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and Erikka left work to come meet us and be able to say goodbye to Madge. From there, Erikka and the baby came home while I took Madge to the airport. I hated to say goodbye and give that last hug, finding myself wishing for more time. I’m hoping that it will be sooner than later before we can see each other again, either here or in California. I know that Noah would love going to see his new pal, so hopefully sometime soon we can make that happen. Right now she is in the air, heading towards Los Angeles and back to her real life after what has been, I am sure, an amazing adventure. Thank you sweet Madge for visiting, and we hope to see you again very soon!